Saturday, September 10, 2011

In the Blink of an Eye

Today I was sitting in class listening to my teacher lecture in his deep Nigerian accent, chuckling often as he fought to articulate his thoughts in English. Truth be told--I don't think I will ever tire of hearing him speak. Anyhow, he was lecturing about forecasting, when suddenly he stops. For a moment I thought perhaps he just lost his English, as this happens every once in a while.

But as the pause grew in time…5 seconds...10 seconds...15 seconds...I see him begin to navigate up the steps to the back of the room, a steadfastness across his face. As I turn to see the source of his distraction for myself, I am met with an image that continues to plague my mind, turning over and over as I try to understand.

There is a girl that always sit in the back—she is actually in three of my classes. Instead of sitting in her seat taking notes like the rest of us, she has fallen out of her chair and is laying on the ground. The rest is a blur now. Her friend calls 911 and tells them she has a heart condition—they need to hurry. As someone tries to explain exactly where we are located—in the basement of the Agriculture building, she attempts to rise to her feet.

She begins down the steps with a friend supporting her on each side. She is right in front of my desk now, in the front of room. She whimpers, much like a dog in great pain. She collapses right in front of me. The collision of her feeble body against the cold, hard ground continues to echo in my ears, even as I write this many hours later.

I sit and stare, unable to process that this is real life—and not some nightmare. Like a broken record, she cries out—its my heart, my heart. She curls into the fetal position and begins to quiet. Her silence is abnormal and concerning. It was like her body became jello. What do I do? I can’t just sit here—and stare, like everyone else in the room.

My Nigerian professor is pacing back and forth, deep in thought—and prayer. Suddenly the boy next to me—a solid man deep his twenties—jumps out of his seat and walks to her seemingly lifeless body. He tells her that he is going to pick her up to carry her to meet the help. No response. She fits into his arms and he quickly glides out the door, like a daddy holding his hurting little girl.

After several minutes, the professor attempts to resume teaching, but the sirens begin to plague all of our ears. Suddenly, his beautiful language lacks it’s usual comfort in my ears. Instead, all I hear between the sirens are my thoughts. Each of us probably wondering the same thing—will we see her again? Will they be able to help her? Did we do enough? What were supposed to do? If she doesn’t make it—well—how could we live with ourselves? I wish I could have helped—I wish I knew what to do in such a crisis.

In my next class, some of her close friends suggested is was a heart attack, brought on by some acute blockage. Others seemed to have lost their speech all together. And the rest, still quite shook up.

Today, reality collided with the preciousness of life on earth. A deep ache continues to linger in my soul—did she know you, Lord? Was her life different because of your name? That first day of class, the day she plopped down in the seat beside me and smiled—why didn’t I care more about her need to know Christ then I did my own insecurity of opening my lips to return the warm welcome altogether? Why do I hesitate, so often, to obey the leading of the Holy Spirit moving inside of me? Perspective says that a moment of feeling insecure is meaningless in the grand scheme of heaven and hell. My flesh says otherwise.  

We don’t know how long we have on this earth. I often cry out to the Lord to send His Son to return for us, His Bride sooner rather then later. And yet the struggle of it all is this exactly—will I be found glorifying Him in that hour and who is coming with me? Today, I am reminded to speak with an urgency and purpose in sharing the gospel. To surrender my fears and insecurities because it could all be over today…tomorrow…this year. And when I finally get to meet Him face to face, what will He say about my life—about my time here purposed to bring Him all the glory, honor and praise?

Will He say, “Well done daughter, well done my good and faithful servant”? I must remember that what He says about my life on that day matters more then what any girl in my class, guy checking me out at Walmart, or non-believing friend of mine might have to say about a seemingly radical faith in Jesus Christ and a life that obeys His commands.

You know, this life is like the blink of an eye compared to eternity. The blink of an eye.

Today alone, you will blink at least 17,000 times. And yet, in comparison to eternity with Christ, our life here in this world is simply a single blink. Oh friends, let us not forget the urgency with which we must live out our blink.

Today, I blinked and the preciousness of a young woman’s life flashed before me—a young woman who I didn’t pursue out of selfish ambition and vain conceit. Her blink could be over—or not. Either way, I pray that today, this week, this year—I would remember with each blink of my eye how meaningless and fleeting this life on earth really is, apart from knowing Him and making Him known. Oh Lord, engrave it more deeply upon this ever-wondering, ever-distracted, deceitfully wicked heart of mine.

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